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URMC / Research / Research@URMC / January 2015 / U.S. Lead in Medical R&D Threatened

U.S. Lead in Medical R&D Threatened

global medicineA new study out today in the Journal of the American Medical Association warns that the U.S. may soon relinquish its title as global leader in medical innovation unless current trends, which have seen U.S. biomedical research funding fall in real terms by 16 percent since 2004, are reversed. 

The study, which was co-authored by UR neurologists Ray Dorsey, M.D., M.B.A. and Benjamin George, M.D., M.P.H., points out that while U.S. investment in medical R&D is stalling the rest of the world picking up speed.

The study, which covers the period between 1994 and 2014, is a tale of two decades.  Between 1994 and 2004, U.S. investment in medical R&D more than doubled.  In the years hence, the modest increases in research funding have not kept pace with the rate of inflation.

In the meantime, Asia countries in particular are accelerating their investments, growing by 9.4 percent per year.  If current trends continue, China will overtake the U.S. in the next decade.

This trajectory can be reversed, the authors contend, by seeking out new sources of funding, such as tax breaks for pharmaceutical companies that reinvest overseas profits in R&D and the creation of government-supported medical research trusts, similar to those used with success in the U.K., Canada, and Australia. 

You can read more about the study here.

Mark Michaud | 1/13/2015

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